mick-401x601As far back as I remember, my home life was extremely difficult and traumatic. My dad was an angry, violent man and I was petrified of him. I discovered alcohol – and my new found solution – at the tender age of 10. It gave me courage when I was scared, it gave me confidence when I had none; but above all else, it made me feel good. But it was also the most destructive and devastating kind of solution that I could ever have imagined…

Alcohol gave me a solid platform upon which I created and nurtured a ‘tough guy’ image. This suited me because it kept people away and protected me from harm. But my behaviour at school became increasingly challenging and I was suspended 3 times. Ultimately, I wasn’t interested in school and I left at age 15 with no GCSEs, nor any other qualifications or ambitions.

Under the influence of alcohol, (and drugs) I became increasingly unstable. I finally realised at the age of 34 that my life was a complete and utter shambles. I knew I had to get some help. Help to change my life and help to conquer my mental health, alcohol and addiction problems. My last drink to date was on my birthday in 2008. I have remained sober ever since.

I am now involved in recovery in many ways and with many different people and organisations. I am a peer mentor, assisting others either in their recovery or with a desire to be so and I have a supportive role at the Recovery Cafes in Exmouth and Exeter. My life is completely different today. Still challenging in places, but 100% more rewarding and productive.

I am a part of the Five Lives team because I am firm believer in prevention being better than cure. I see all too clearly today, how my own life spiralled out of control and where it all went so incredibly wrong.

If I can’t be a good example – I can most certainly present a horrible warning.